BrainStorm BPM Day 1: BPMS vendor panel

Bruce and I changed between the same two sessions, although he was leading both sessions and I was sitting back blogging. This one is a panel of four BPMS vendors, Global 360, IBM, Savvion and BEA, to discuss What’s Next for BPM Suites. I arrived a few minutes late and didn’t catch all the names, although I recognized Pat Morrissey of Savvion. This was my first tough decision of the day, since I also wanted to attend the Business Process versus Business Rules panel, especially considering that the panel that I’m in could turn out to be just regurgitation of the vendors’ marketing materials. There’s always the chance, however, that one of them will blurt out something unexpected.

The word “mashups” just came out of the IBM person’s mouth, in response to a question about collaboration; this has nothing to do with their BPM offering of course, which doesn’t really have any collaborative aspects (if you discount the FileNet Team Collaboration Manager product, which she likely hasn’t even heard of) but they are offering a mashup tool so I suppose that triggered when she heard “collaboration”. She’s not the only vendor to drag the conversation off topic and down the rathole of their own product’s functionality, but she’s definitely the most effective at it.

There was a bit of a discussion about Web 2.0 at the end of the session, with the BEA person making a key point that one of the big issues is that Web 2.0 consumer applications are changing user expectations, which in turn drives the inclusion of social networking features into BPMS’ — a point that I’ve made here before and will be discussing at the Shared Insights conference next month.

Bruce finished up by asking each vendor to summarize what they thought was the next thing in BPMS:

  • Global 360: “process intelligence”, which appears to be their latest marketing buzzphrase
  • IBM: “frameworks for implementing BPMS”, since they like to sell frameworks plus lots and lots of professional services to make them work
  • Savvion: “process management that actually works” (on a global scale, as opposed to always being the next big idea or in a pilot stage)
  • BEA: “convergence of BPM and SOA” and “better collaboration”

All-in-all, I didn’t learn much in this session about what’s next for BPM suites, and it was much too polite: the vendors only very gently disputed each other’s opinions, and in fact rarely even directly addressed each other. It did give me a chance to get my queued blog posts published, and now I’m all caught up and ready for lunch.

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